On June 18th, 2014, Kyle Gibson turned in the best start of his career at Fenway Park. He threw seven innings, allowed just two hits, struck out eight Red Sox hitters, and walked none of them. The Twins lost, because it was 2014, and we were still being punished. But Gibson’s outing was good for a Game Score of 81, a mark that he would never top again...until -- all right, he didn’t get it tonight. He had a 64. I just, I was writing this — I started writing it after the 7th, and it really looked like he could throw a complete-game shutout, and I figured, but then maybe too many walks and not enough K’s to beat the score anyway, it -- yeah, I don’t know. We’re gonna blame an irrelevant lede on Gibson. Not me. Sorry, Gibby.
Regardless, Kyle Gibson had a very nice night for the Minnesota Twins. Working quickly and missing bats, Gibson retired Tigers hitters left, right, and center. He worked into the 8th inning and allowed just five hits. Two of the three earned runs he was charged with came courtesy of a homer allowed by Taylor Rogers. More on that later.
With the score tied at naught apiece in the 3rd, the ‘87-hat-wearing Twinkies tagged Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann for three runs. A single from Joe Mauer, a double from Robbie Grossman, and a sac fly off the bat of Eddie Rosario, and it was 3-nil. Some small ball in the 4th extended the lead, as Miguel Sano’s flyout to center plated Jason Castro, and Joe Mauer’s fielder’s choice grounder scored Brian Dozier.
Throw in an RBI single by Jason Castro in the 7th, and everything was coming up roses.
Then the 8th happened...which was a bit more stress-inducing.
Old friend Alex “Not Justin Morneau” Presley had a ground-rule double that plated Detroit’s first runner of the evening and knocked Gibby out of the game. Then Justin Upton sent a Just-ball Just-Fair off the left field foul pole for a three-run homer, suddenly making it a 6-4 game. Ruh-roh, Shaggy.
James “The Antagonizer” McCann doubled to bring the tying run up. Nicholas Castellanos grounded out to Dozier (the call was challenged, leaving Nick visibly disgruntled when it stood), but Victor Martinez walked with two outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate.
Paul Molitor went to All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler for the four-out save. Kintzler immediately went to 3-0 on Mikie Mahtook, then got a trademark grounder to Sano -- who threw it in the dirt on two hops to first base. Another run in, and a 6-5 ballgame. A grounder to second would mercifully end the inning — an inning in which 10 men came to the plate, five of them scored, four of them got a hit, and one of them — Andrew Romine — made two outs.
Leading off the 9th, Jose Iglesias snuck a ball just fair inside the third-base line, which was retrieved efficiently by Eddie Rosario, who threw a bullet to second to cut down a greedy Iggy. Brad Ausmus was out of the dugout for a long time to debate whether third-base umpire Tim Timmons was too discombobulated by the hot grounder in his direction to accurately determine if the shot was fair or foul. His efforts were in vain.
A pair of grounders quietly finished the inning, and the Twins came away with a 6-5 win. A walk-off homer by Francisco Lindor means that Cleveland stays a game-and-a-half ahead for now, but the Minnesota victory tonight means we get a shot at the series tomorrow.
RF Max Kepler (2-for-4, RBI)
LF Eddie Rosario (2-for-3, RBI, outfield assist in the 9th)
CF Zac(?) Granite (3-for-4)
SP Kyle Gibson (7.1 IP, 5 H, 5 K)
NO DUDS! TWINS WIN! TWINS WIN!
Every member of the batting order had at least one hit tonight.
Robot Roll Call:
|5||Can't Read Good||26|
|6||less cowbell, more 'neau||20|
Comment of the Gamethread: CRG’s mattress commercial pitch